Summer delight: Gran Turismo travelling in the new Fiat Tipo

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Gran Turismo Travelling in the Fiat Tipo: here in front of a fine restaurant and vineyard at Tain l’Ermitage…

After having experienced the excellent qualities of the Tipo in our regular test, we were truly delighted to take the wheel of this very well engineered and built five seater on a trip to the French midi, thanks to the dynamic PR team of FCA Belgium. It was a marvelous experience, where the Tipo showed its outstanding  properties of a fully fledged Gran Turismo automobile.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 Smooth, powerful and frugal

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We already praised in our test the drivability of the Tipo. On this grand French tour we appreciated it still more. The 1,6 litre Multijet second generation 120 hp diesel is masterful when it comes to smooth pulling power, even when starting from cold. Indeed, it will pull smoothly away from 1200 rpm onwards, assisted also by a very progressive clutch, enabling you to drive away with uncanny gentleness. We stress this point, because this makes the Tipo an ideal companion in heavy urban traffic, in holiday traffic jams,  when parking in tight spaces. It contributes very much to the “zen” feeling of comfort which we found so delightful in this Tipo.

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Smooth means not feeble hearted, and indeed, this Multijet has ample zest and power. Its torque is truly impressive from 1400 rpm onwards, and even on a light throttle, accelerations leave nothing to be desired. Even when driving rather spiritedly, there is hardly any need to rev the unit above 2500 rpm.

These engine characteristics made the Tipo ideal to drive over mountain roads and winding hilly roads, helped also by the excellent gearbox and the well chosen ratios.

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Driving pleasure is not spoilt by a hefty fuel bill. The Tipo showed on this Grand Turismo trip what frugality nowadays is all about. Driving at legal maximum limits on the Autoroutes, at 130 kmh or thereabouts, average consumption dropped to 5,1 liters/100 km, and when negotiating mountain passes, driving on Nationales or Départementales, consumption drops to well below 5 liters/100 km.

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The Tipo on a mountain road near the Col de Burzet, a special stage in the Monte Carlo Rallye

We drove the Tipo also leisurely, in true holiday mood, over long stretches of the Nationale 7, which was pleasantly deserted with the Autoroutes being totally jammed, and we did not only appreciate the refinement of the drivetrain, but also the well balanced comfort of suspension and seats.

Gran Turismo comfort

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Indeed, this Tipo lets you feel refreshed and relaxed, even after spending hours behind the three spoked wheel. The state of the art chassis and suspension is a big factor here. The Tipo is utterly stable on winding roads, copes very well with uneven surfaces found on Alpine Départementales, yet has a firmness which is ideally matched to the suspension characteristics of the seats, and both are harmonizing ideally. One therefore never feels the want for more comfort or more sportiness, a truly ideal balance is struck here. We we also quite impressed by the high speed behavior of “our” Tipo.

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Not only does it stand its own on fast motorway stretches, it can be driven with abandon on winding roads, and surprise you with its massive safety reserves. Indeed, be it tight or fast bends, it is never caught off guard, and its handling is precise and neutral right up to the adhesion limit.

The more you drive it, the more one is fully aware that this Tipo embodies and incorporates all the engineering know how of the Fiat group and has be honed and tested in practice to achieve a wonderful, well balanced result.

 Practical, roomy, efficient

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When it comes to achieving interior space on a given compact platform, the Fiat Group is a true master in the game. Not only is passenger and boot space ample for its category, there is so much more, namely formal or aesthetic balance. Indeed, this Tipo looks the part, and this from any angle. Its styling language translates perfectly well what this Tipo wants to be: an utterly well engineered and built five seater, delivering in a self assured manner all the best its class has to offer. And this with a timeless, formal elegance on top of it.

The Italian stylists know it: it is all about proportions, and how right they are. All the volumes, curves, accent lines strike this ideal balance. Soon we will also lay our hands on the five door version, where ideal styling paths are also found, judging from the photos.

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Of course, as we mentioned in our test, this Tipo has all the amenities which make a long trip a feast: an excellent sound system, navigation and hands free communication possibilities.

Conclusion

Taking a car of this caliber and price class on a Gran Turismo trip is no small challenge. The Tipo rose to the occasion, and proved to be one of the most balanced cars we have come across this year. It amply shows what the Fiat group is capable off, and we foresee a long and fruitful career for this car, and we will see it for years to come on many roads, in many countries. Just don’t miss this one, we would say, take it on a short or long trip, it will be a source of motoring pleasure for you time and again.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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